Yes, I am crazy enough

It’s a dangerous place to be in when your ‘no’ is not really regarded as your ‘no’ anymore - when the lines between black and white become blurry. When we work within grey areas, we use circumstances as a way of justifying what we do.

29 October 2019 | Columns

Mariselle Stofberg

As a female living in a world where femicide has become our reality, I want to become a part of the dialogue. I want to change that so-called reality that we accept.

I hate living in a world where fear rules the way we think. I hate that we try to find excuses for the things people do, because hey, it is a part of the way things are. This is our reality and we need to accept it.

I hate that I am constantly looking over my shoulder. I am told not to act a certain way, because it might provoke others. I’m told to dress a certain way, because what I wear might be a trigger for someone. Take care of your glass at a party honey, because leaving it unattended is regarded as reckless.

Don’t walk alone, because you might become a target.

Don’t drink too much, because then you are putting yourself in danger.

Take the cat-calls as a compliment, because that means people find you attractive.

Don’t be too emotional, because then you are seen as weak, but please don’t not be too confident, because then you have an attitude. Don’t be a tease and don’t be a prude. If something happened to you against your will, you were most probably looking for it.

We dream of a world where violence is not determined by gender, but we still teach girls what they should do not to get raped. As if it is a choice. We give self-defence classes on how to protect the girl child or women, but we forget to teach society why people should not hurt others. We become reactive, because being proactive and going against the norm is too hard. We want females to enjoy the same rights as men, and be treated equally, but we still teach them what they should not do in order to protect themselves.

“Yes, be a strong independent woman, but remember the world you live in.”

Why? Why should I become content with the status quo? Why should I be shamed and made to feel that I did something wrong, when someone took something that was not theirs to take.

When has it become okay to shame victims of abuse or make them question the severity of what has happened to them. Why do we judge people in abusive relationships and see them as inferior or weak for not leaving.

When have we been given the right to judge pain, as if pain can be measured on some scale?

The best argument I constantly hear is: What can we do to possibly change this deep-rooted problem society faces? The argument is made that we will never be able to change how things are and therefore we should adapt to how we act to make ourselves less vulnerable.

Do I have a grand plan or idea that can be our solution? No. Do I have answers or some hidden insight to help us understand why things are happening? No.

What I can offer, however, is my voice. I can stand up and say ‘no’. I can start to fight to break free of the chains. I can fight violence without violence, because fighting fire with fire is not the solution. I can become a part of the dialogue that continues, and does not simply calm down when enough noise has been made.

I can put an end to the stereotypes that only girls get raped, because the world I want to live in does not discriminate on the basis of gender.

I can encourage males to participate in the dialogues we are trying to have, to show that this is a universal issue that needs to be addressed now.

I can stop sending memes and making jokes about issues that are by no means funny.

I can say ‘no’ to this so-called reality of ours and proudly say I reject your reality you try so hard to force down my throat.

I am tired of simply surviving, when I can thrive. I am crazy enough to challenge the norm, because like Rob Siltanen said, we need a bit of crazy to bring about real change.

“Here's to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. The round pegs in the square holes. The ones who see things differently. They're not fond of rules. And they have no respect for the status quo. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them. About the only thing you can't do is ignore them. Because they change things. They push the human race forward. And while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do.”

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